Saturday eve and I am on a date night with my boys. PianoPlayArea

I’m enjoying a delicious meal, sipping on wine and maintaining a conversation with my mama-friend – with our kids in TOw. The little ones have devoured their food and are now playing off to the side. Where is this happy place?

It’s in the basement of 88 Harbord.

For T.O. foodies, you will likely recognize the address as the former location of Splendido, one of Toronto’s and Canada’s best restaurants by owner and chef Victor Barry. Last month, the dad-of-two unveiled PIANO PIANOa casual Italian restaurant with a family-friendly dining experience downstairs called ‘Piccolo Piano Bar.’

He had us right from the start.

The kids were wide-eyed at the gorgeous pink painted mural on the facade and the floral wallpaper inside. Heading downstairs to what was formerly Splendido’s wine cellar, you’ll pass a piano (which you can play) en route to a spacious, fabulously wallpapered and lit dining room.

Off to the side but still in view is a little magical area where kids can play. There is a cozy little tent, awesome costumes, books, chalkboard and a variety of toys. A few of mama’s favourites – a blast from the past etch-a-sketch and old-school Pac-Man machine (bring quarters or add it to your tab.)

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Piano PacMan PiccoloPianoDining

On the food-front you will not be disappointed. We all had pizzas (one of their specialities – the regular-sized are a must-share) but there are tons of options. The Kids Menu, created in collaboration with a local mama and nutritionist Danielle Binns, has a choice of pizza or macaroni with a long list of healthy and diverse sides. You can also create your own “Happy Tray.” Kid-sized pizza and menu below.

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Only a few weeks in and they’ve pretty much thought of everything. No question – we’ll be back.


Getting there: Driving, paid street parking on Harbord St. On TTC, the 94 bus goes along Harbord or take Spadina 510 streetcar south from Spadina Subway on the Bloor line.

Low-down: Open daily (Sunday – Wednesday 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. and Thursday – Saturday 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.) Piccolo Piano is downstairs (stairs only.) Seats 30 people – roomy but acoutics can make it pretty loud (not something unfamiliar to families.) Yes, high chairs and baby change tables.

Food: Here is the menu. They can bring kids’ meals out first. Drinks for kids included in their meals. Sides (happy plate) are all gluten-free. Pasta can also be gluten-free.